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Tough VS Strong (a contextual approach) 

The tricky part is you can never be TOO TOUGH

 

I was raised to be tough! You probably were too. For me, tough meant I could defend myself, never let anyone see me cry and If I get knocked down in any way to always get back up again. Tough, for me was almost a way to describe how much abuse or attack I could take at any time without giving up or breaking down. This particular type of “toughness” got me into fights I didn’t really want to be in with people that had far less to lose than I did. It also conditioned me to take no man’s bulls##* and be ready at a moment’s notice to fight back verbally, physically, or otherwise. Toughness for me was also a continually moving goal I learned, as I grew. I was always out to prove how tough I was but once I felt satisfied in proving my toughness there always seemed to be another challenge calling me to become tougher. For this reason, I suppose I was never quite tough enough. As I continue the journey of life, I wonder why I gauged my strength and resilience by how much abuse or attack I could endure without hurting or admitting I was hurt. While I was focusing on being tough, I confused it with being strong. See toughness taught me I could only rely on myself, but it takes strength to learn how to rely on God. (and still does) Toughness taught me that every fight is my fight, Strength teaches me control. Strength teaches me to wait when I should, while this kind of toughness teaches I take what’s mine, I wait for no man. (or God) Tough guys are always looking for a fight when strong men are continually making peace. For the sake of this writing, it could be fair to say that the idea of “toughness” is a counterfeit of “true strength” which means I was tough and weak, tough and hurting, tough and alone. These 3 obviously have nothing on the notions of being strong by admitting weakness, strong while healing, and strength in numbers. Now we know that the word tough isn’t a bad word in and of itself, rather the idea of being tough. Meaning that when we suffer immensely and keep on trucking without mentally processing, working on healing or any kind of adjustments whatsoever that somehow makes us tough. The idea that avoiding expressing emotions makes us tougher is a complete lie. On the contrary, it weighs you down. It’s no surprise we have some extremely underdeveloped, unhealed, uneducated, (not college either) socially inept, TOUGH people in our lives with nothing to show for their TOUGHNESS but a bunch of scars and defense mechanisms that make them hard to deal with regularly. If that’s what tough is count me out. I’m tired of trying to be a tough guy when strength encompasses all that I wanted and then some. I don’t get to fight everyone who doesn’t like me or has something to say about me anymore. I must be strong enough to know who I am and “whose” I am because the strength in me cannot be broken by words. Do we have a right to defend ourselves against actions and words? Sure. But at some point, in your life you will discover the moment you have more to lose than to gain by fighting battles you weren’t designed for. True strength teaches me that it takes nothing less than STRENGTH to remain silent when the only thing I seek to defend is my EGO. Strength teaches me to speak on my terms when I am ready and not blurt out whatever is on my mind all because I want to prove I’m a tough guy. Sure, you clapped back verbally but emotionally and mentally you never recovered. I’m learning that a huge part of my strength is admitting and processing when something bothers me. A larger part of my strength comes through learning that getting hit by life and not making the proper adjustments isn’t tough, its STUPID. Being able to recognize what’s not working and work toward the changes needed is indeed gaining mental strength. Standing in one place and taking the hardest hits while being worn down is called being a punching bag. So the question is, if everybody is so tough, then why are they always getting beat up? I’m realizing these days, at my WEAKEST points, being able to realize how much I cannot do this without God is really when I am at my STRONGEST point. And not just stating I need him and praying when I want things, but really including him in my everyday life no matter how I feel about it, or me. I see now strength is learning to evolve by involving God into everything you do, whether you feel like you can handle it or not. In the context of this writing tough people seek to defend themselves, strong people seek to defend their legacy. (which do you think is more important?) I will no longer measure my strength by how beat down I can become without dying but rather by how quickly I can come to the realization that I’m fighting the wrong battle, the wrong way with the wrong strategy. Before, I would just continue, no matter how badly things go because, I’m tough. (I can take it) Now, I value myself too much to subject myself to needless pain. In this, I am starting to recognize when things are too big for me and take them back to God, much faster. I don’t always have to go back to him beaten beyond recognition and ask him to heal me. After much confusing thoughts and ideas of toughness vs strength, I have recognized fully that only in him, am I strong. I was never tough, just well accustomed to being hurt.

 

with thought and consideration for whoever reads

Jovon Dangerfield aka Kingdomactivist

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